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Light Bulb Finder wins EPA's greenest apps contest

Consumer Reports News: November 04, 2011 03:38 PM

A mobile app that helps you switch from incandescent lightbulbs to energy-efficient varieties was named Best Overall App in the EPA's App for the Environment Challenge. Developed by Adam Borut and Andrea Nylund of Eco Hatchery, the Light Bulb Finder app takes information about the type of light fixture you're looking to make more efficient and recommends appropriate CFL or LED replacement bulbs.

As the demo video shows, Light Bulb Finder is pretty easy to use and is available for both Androids and iPhones. You punch in your zip code, choose the type of fixture you're dealing with, the wattage and base design of the existing incandescent bulb, and a few other basic data points. Out of that information, the app generates a selection of appropriate replacement bulbs, as well as the energy savings you'll reap from each.

You can purchase the bulbs online through Eco Hatchery, which is part of the business model behind the Light Bulb Finder. "We make a small percentage on the sale of each bulb, but the core of our business is based on programs run with utilities and municipalities," says Nylund. She adds that consumers can just as easily take the information to their local retailer. Either way, we recommend you cross reference the Light Bulb Finder's suggested bulbs with Consumer Reports' Ratings of CFLs and LEDs. Our engineers routinely find significant differences in performance, including the quality of light the bulbs produce, warm-up time, and how well they deal with being turned on and off frequently.

As for the other EPA contest winners, Runner Up was Hootroot, an app that compares the carbon costs of traveling between destinations by car, transit, bike, and foot, while the Popular Choice went to CG Search, an app that measures the air quality index, air pollutant levels, and energy consumption of various U.S. cites.

Daniel DiClerico


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